Monday, June 28, 2004

58% disapprove of bush, but kerry still an unknown

The New York Times: Bush's Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds
By Adam Nagourney & Janet Elder
Published: June 29, 2004
President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. The poll found Americans stiffening their opposition to the Iraq war, worried that the invasion could invite domestic terrorist attacks and skeptical about whether the White House has been fully truthful about the war or about abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison.

A majority of respondents in the poll, conducted before yesterday's transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government, said that the war was not worth its cost in American lives and that the Bush administration did not have a clear plan to restore order to Iraq.

The survey, which showed Mr. Bush's approval rating at 42 percent, also found that nearly 40 percent of Americans say they do not have an opinion about Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, despite what have been both parties' earliest and most expensive television advertising campaigns.


It's heartening to note that the people surveyed for this poll are finally starting to pay attention.

But it's disheartening to see that Kerry is not yet having much of an impact. Maybe if he starts campaigning, articulating his positions, taking a bold stand or two. The primary season was much too short this year -- we hardly got to know any of the candidates before Kerry was anointed the stand-in for ABB.

What's interesting in these results is that only 18% of those polled believe Bushie is telling the entire truth, yet he has a 42% approval rating. So what does this mean? Maybe it means that about 20-24% of the people polled think it's just fine that the prez lies. Scary. Probably the same group of people who think the abuse at Abu Ghraib was no worse than a frat prank.

These are the results (http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/06/28/politics/poll.gif):

poll.gif
posted by lee on 06/28/04 at 09:00 PM

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Friday, June 25, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

Even though I'd read a lot about this movie and sort of knew what to expect, nothing prepared me for the impact it had on me. I cried when I saw the Iraqi children killed and mutilated, the soldiers killed and injured, and the mother who lost her son. Fahrenheit 9/11 honed the anger that began building when the Supreme Court endorsed the Pretender's coup, grew stronger with half-assed response to 9/11, and hit the white-hot level with this obscene war. And I'm not just furious with the Bushies-- but also with the Democrats who, for the most part, fail to show any spine or any willingness to go out on a limb to stand up for what is right.

We went to see the first showing at the Garden Cinema here in Norwalk. It was packed -- all four shows tonight sold out. We were lucky to get in and find two seats together. We looked around as the movie was starting, noting that tonight we were among the choir. I hope the movie's box office take is huge, that it crosses parties, that high school kids throughout the country see it, that those unsure of how they're going to vote in November see it.

I think the movie is excellent. If nothing else, it gives one plenty to think about. Maybe it'll serve to activate all those braincells in the 46% of Americans who think invading Iraq was the right thing to do. And it was interesting to see things I had no idea about, such as the protests of several Congressfolk during the certification of the Pretender's election. I can't believe that not even one Senator signed off on a protest. Not one. Not Lieberman, or Kerry, or even Kennedy. Not one. Now I want to know why.

What's been interesting is reading some of the reviews, now that I've been able to see the movie -- it's interesting to see if I saw the same movie as the critics. Pretty much, though Ebert got one scene wrong: he said Moore was accompanied by a Marine recruiter when he tried to get Congressdrones to enlist their kids. The guy wasn't a recruiter, but a soldier who already served in Iraq and swore there was no way he was going back over there, even if he had to go to jail over it.

One review, however, offended me: that by Salon's Stephanie Zacharek. It says much more about her ignorance and arrogance than it does about the movie:

When Moore isn't pounding away at Bush, he's busy playing the friend of the common man. But as he did in both "Roger & Me" and "Bowling for Columbine," Moore can't help acting superior to his on-camera subjects. We meet Lila Lipscomb, a hardworking American of modest means who encouraged her children to go into the military, knowing that it could provide educational opportunities that she wouldn't have been able to give them herself. Lipscomb is proud of her country and proud of the young men and women who fight for it. At one point, she shows Moore the cross she wears around her neck -- it's a multicolored cross that, she explains, stands for her multicultural beliefs. "I'm multicultural," she states plainly.

At this moment, the audience I saw "Fahrenheit 9/11" with snickered over what they must have perceived as Lipscomb's simplicity. But not long after, we see that Lipscomb's husband is African-American, and her large, extended family is multiracial. Yet Moore's audience has already been primed to laugh at the "simple folk" who make up the bulk of this great land o' ours. Moore's approach leaves Lipscomb open to ridicule (the same way he used the Rabbit Lady in "Roger & Me" -- the woman who sold live rabbits and their byproducts to bolster her meager government income checks -- to get laughs).


The one thing Moore never does is act superior to the "ordinary" people he portrays. It's quite obvious that Stephie is projecting here. It's also pretty typical of too many liberals (you know, the ones who fancy themselves members of the intelligentsia) -- instead of embracing and supporting someone taking action and actually trying to have an impact, let's trash these Don Quixotes. After all, it's much easier to sit in front of a computer and write clever barbs than to actually take a stand and risk something. At some level, she must recognize this or she wouldn't have been so stupidly vicious.

My niece's fianc is in Iraq, stationed near Baghdad, fighting a war he doesn't believe in because he felt it was his duty to serve in the Army Reserve. He told me, before the war even started, that he wouldn't hesitate to go after Al Queda or any other group or government threatening our country. But, he said, Iraq didn't fall into that category, and never did. He said he and his fellow reservists feel betrayed by our government. This is the point of Moore's movie: we're throwing away lives and betraying honorable men and women for nothing. Certainly not for our security, and certainly not to make our country safer.

I hope Moore's movie convinces millions that Bush is just not worthy of their vote.
posted by lee on 06/25/04 at 06:46 PM

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Monday, June 21, 2004

Finally, rowland does the right thing

This morning I received a fabulous news alert from WTNH announcing that Rowland decided to step down -- what a great way to start the morning!

Then, finally, he DID step down -- he gave himself ten days to get outta Dodge (or Hartford, whatever). He should've resigned last December and saved the state a boatload of money. Guess he needs the ten days we shouldn't even give him to find a place to live. Oh, I forgot, he's got that cozy cottage with the hot tub.

It made my year, to watch this: WTNH.com - Governor Rowland announces resignation effective July 1. I only wish it could've been sooner.

"I acknowledge that my poor judgment has brought us here," Rowland said in a live news conference from the Governor's Residence.

Poor judgment? Try greed and arrogance and dishonesty. What a schmuck.

Now Jodi gets to run the state. Pity she's a Republican as well -- I'd feel more comfortable with her in charge if she were a Democrat and if she at least had SOME kind of college degree -- taking a few classes here and there isn't enough to be CEO of the state. She was Rowland's token vice gov, chosen because she'd never be an issue, I think. We'll have to work on getting rid of her next year (her term runs until January 2006) unless, and I'm crossing my fingers about this, she shows at least a modicum of competence and a LOT of decency. Fortunately, Atty. Gen'l Blumenthal is a Dem. So's the Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. Bet Blumenthal is thinking the path is clear for the Guv's mansion now -- but he's such a good AG I'd hate to see him move up.

Between Dubya and Rowland the Crook, it will be a long, long time before I would even consider trusting a Republican again, let alone voting for one. (Oh, yes, I have voted for a Republican or two in my time -- though never for Governor or President.)
posted by lee on 06/21/04 at 05:38 PM

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Saturday, June 19, 2004

cinema trivia

Lifetimetv.com: Games - Cinema Sequence -- a very addictive total waste of time that I can't get enough of (my latest score was 5825) -- don't play it, just don't ... I warned you!
posted by lee on 06/19/04 at 05:48 PM

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Friday, June 18, 2004

ISS AND VENUS crossing the sun

Tom Maruᚚka posted photos of the international space station AND Venus crossing the Sun. This was only observable in a very narrow band stretching through central Europe -- in this case, in Slovakia: ISS and Venus transiting the Sun

After some experimentation I once again checked my geographical location I chose 500mm telephoto mirror lens and rotated the camera so, that ISS will be crossing their diagonal. I made first test by capturing video sequence few minutes before event. The final sequence started at 12:09:06 of Central European summer time.


There are other interesting photos of the transit available on Spaceweather. Spaceweather also has also has information about a possible meteor shower, Bootid, on June 23 before sunrise. (People in the western US will have the best viewing, though -- rules Connecticut out!)
posted by lee on 06/18/04 at 03:02 PM

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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Eric Gauger’s “Notes from the Road”

It's very strange: just this morning as I blearily gazed at the list of email messages to slog through, it flashed through my brain that it has been a long time since I received an updated "Notes from the Road." Lo and behold, what should appear in my inbox this evening but the very latest dispatch.

Hopetown and the Mystery of Island Settlement is the title of Eric Gauger's latest travel diary entry. As usual, stunning photos.

Hopetown wraps around a West Indies harbor, but also peers out over the Atlantic Ocean. No cars allowed on its narrow streets, but cats are a different matter. Owing to a history of cat lovers, the settlement is profuse with them. Raggedy and glare eying, they stare down from their perches in gum trees and atop clapboard houses painted always in two contrasting shades of pastel. Hopetown looks pretty much how it did two hundred years ago. Only more cats, fewer wooden masts.


MISC.
I was hoping to have time today to install a journal for a friend. Ran out of time. Tomorrow. I'm looking forward to reading it when she starts using it -- which she can't do until I set up the software for her. I need more hours!

sweet-betsy.jpegSome plants I ordered from Rare Bird Nursery arrived today. A black cherry tree, sweetbrush (pictured. AKA Sweet Betsy), and Possumhaw Virburnum. The plants arrived in excellent shape. I'm not sure how these North Carolina transplants will do in Connecticut (coastal Connecticut, to be sure, but the winters can be brutal). But the zones are ok, so I'm hoping they'll be fine.

I want to plant the sweetshrub underneath the austrees in order to block a cement retaining wall. Sweetshrub makes a good habitat for birds besides being very pretty shrubs.

The black cherry tree will go somewhere -- not sure yet, but I just love them and was never able to get one growing any other place I've lived because the deer love them as well. We have a rare deer sighting here since there are no woods or open fields nearby (ours is one of the larger plots of land around here, and it's just half an acre), so maybe I'll have some luck with this one. The viburnum gets white flowers and blue fruits that birds like, like sun to partial shade. The leaves are pretty. Now we just have to get them in the ground -- along with the butterfly bush and the beach plums.
posted by lee on 06/17/04 at 09:59 PM

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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Remarks by our real president

I was looking for the text of Al Gore's recent speech about the chaos wreaked by the Pretender and his administration -- I'd listened to most of it on Air America Radio and thought it was a great and passionate speech (oh how I wish he could've been as passionate during his campaign!) and wanted to read the text. Searching for it this morning led me to a whacko bushie blog that made fun of Bruce Springsteen for posting the text of the speech on his site. So, thanks to Bruce Springsteen News, here is the entire text of this great speech:

REMARKS BY AL GORE
May 26, 2004, As Prepared

George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility. Instead, he has brought us humiliation in the eyes of the world.

He promised to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.

Honor? He decided not to honor the Geneva Convention. Just as he would not honor the United Nations, international treaties, the opinions of our allies, the role of Congress and the courts, or what Jefferson described as "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind." He did not honor the advice, experience and judgment of our military leaders in designing his invasion of Iraq. And now he will not honor our fallen dead by attending any funerals or even by permitting photos of their flag-draped coffins.
How did we get from September 12th , 2001, when a leading French newspaper ran a giant headline with the words "We Are All Americans Now" and when we had the good will and empathy of all the world -- to the horror that we all felt in witnessing the pictures of torture in Abu Ghraib.

To begin with, from its earliest days in power, this administration sought to radically destroy the foreign policy consensus that had guided America since the end of World War II. The long successful strategy of containment was abandoned in favor of the new strategy of "preemption." And what they meant by preemption was not the inherent right of any nation to act preemptively against an imminent threat to its national security, but rather an exotic new approach that asserted a unique and unilateral U.S. right to ignore international law wherever it wished to do so and take military action against any nation, even in circumstances where there was no imminent threat. All that is required, in the view of Bush's team is the mere assertion of a possible, future threat - and the assertion need be made by only one person, the President.

More "Remarks by our real president"

posted by lee on 06/16/04 at 10:36 AM

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

God is not mentioned even one time in the US Constitution

Some of this I knew, but some of this I didn't. In any case, it's pretty interesting.

Are you a Heretic? Take the quiz and see if you've got what it takes ... Step right up and test your brain!
posted by lee on 06/15/04 at 12:01 PM

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celebrate solstice

Take a look at Secular Seasons. I love the graphics and design of this site (as well as the sentiment behind it). The site has some bugs, but it has some very interesting content (especially if one is a [gasp] secular humanist!)
posted by lee on 06/15/04 at 11:52 AM

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Friday, June 11, 2004

the zen of php shopping carts; moron time; great photos

Check out Zen Cart, a free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart system. I saw it mentioned on one of the lists I read, either Web Design-L or Evolt. It looks like it might be what I was looking for, so I'm going to give it a whirl this weekend. It has a Spanish Language module and buttons, which is especially what I need, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I REALLY get a lot from the lists I subscribe to (in digest form -- otherwise I'd never get any work done) -- they provided me with some good pointers in solving thorny problems, especially CSS problems.

Right now my main puzzle is how to get stacked layers and some floats to behave in IE 5.2 for the Mac. A gallery based on dhtml and other odds and ends. I fear I will just have to re-do it from scratch, which is extremely annoying because it work and looks just fine in Mozilla, Safari, and Win IE.

The ExpressionEngine install is coming along slowly. Now that I've gotten the divs to behave as they should, and have built some of the modules, it should go faster. (Famous last words.) I still prefer it to Movable Type -- there is just so much more you can do with it.

DROOL INDUCER
Abba To Zappa -- guessing game. Not only am I somewhat of a moron when it comes to music, this game is pretty moronic. Which explains why I did so well when I only recognized two of the characters. Maybe three.

2004 PHOTO ANNUAL
Check out the entries into the PDN Photo Annual. I haven't gotten through it all yet -- take time to explore it properly.

DESKTOP PROJECT
It would take me an hour just to organize all the stuff on my desktop so I could get a decent shot of it to submit it here. Beware: if you hit the full gallery on anything but a broadband connection, you may as well go take a nap.

And th th th th that's all, folks!
posted by lee on 06/11/04 at 10:32 PM

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